The Bartlett School of Planning

Dr Catalina Turcu

Dr Catalina Turcu

Associate Professor

The Bartlett School of Planning

Faculty of the Built Environment

Joined UCL
1st Oct 2010

Research summary

Unique researcher ID (ORCID): 0000-0003-2663-2586

My research contributes to 'localisation' debates in urban sustainability studies. More specifically, I focus on relational local sustainability, which I conceptualise at the intersection of material (built and natural), social and political aspects of cities. Through these lenses, I have engaged with research areas including indicators, housing, energy and health, mainly at neighbourhood/community level but also wider urban system. I have an extensive publication record, comprising over 100 research outputs; and led and co-led 10 research projects since 2012. I hold international scientific advisory roles with national research councils in Scandinavia; and visiting profersorships at Wroclaw Science and Technology University and Linkopings University in Stockholm. In the last 5 years I have been invited to speak at over 60 international events. I am by ‘training’ and ‘interest’ an interdisciplinary scholar hence, my research is of policy amenity and has invited over the years commissions from local and national government in the UK and abroad, and international organisations such as the World Bank, OECD, WHO and UNHabitat.

Current research projects:

  • FULL (Food for Urban Life and Locality)
  • DenseHOUSE (Densification and Housing in London and Stockholm)
  • CUSSH (Complex Urban Systems for Sustainability and Health)

Teaching summary

I teach both lecture- and studio- based modules. 

My Sustainable Urban Development modules have been recognised as ‘best practice’ by UCL’s 2020 Sustainable Education Award and draw on the Capstone approach, whereby students work closely with a ‘client’ or city to deliver a long-term-large-scale sustainable urban strategy under academic supervision. Since 2012, I have directed and significantly shaped the MSc in Sustainable Urbanism at UCL and supervised eight doctoral students. I am regularly invited to speak at conferences and have lectured at Oxford University, London School of Economics, Stockholm Royal Institute of Technology, Gothenburg University, TU Delft, Columbia University and Harvard Postgraduate School of Design. 

I currently teach at the postgraduade level and convene the following modules:

  • BPLN0058 Sustainable Urban Development: Key Themes
  • BPLN0059 Sustainable Urban Development: Project
  • BPLN0052 Major Research Project

In the past, I also lectured on:

  • Governance for Urban Sustainability: Key Debates (UCL)
  • Green Futures (UCL)
  • Making cities: the production of the built environment (UCL)
  • Urban Poverty, Spatial and Social Exclusion (LSE)
  • International Housing and Social Change (LSE)
  • Public Administration and Urban Management (UAUIM) 
  • Materials of Construction and Building Specification (UAUIM) 


University College London
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education | 2014
London School of Economics and Political Science
Doctorate, Doctor of Philosophy | 2010
London School of Economics and Political Science
Other higher degree, Master of Science | 2001
Universitatea din Bucuresti
Other higher degree, Master | 1999
Universitatea din Bucuresti
Other Postgraduate qualification (including professional), Diploma of Architecture | 1996
Universitatea din Bucuresti
First Degree, Bachelor of Architecture | 1993


I am Associate Professor in Sustainable Built Environment at The Bartlett School of Planning, University College London, UK. I hold degrees in urban sustainability (PhD, LSE), housing (MSc, LSE), urbanism (MA, UAUIM) and architecture (BArch DipArch, UAUIM). Prior to joining the academia, I have worked for 10 years as an architect and planning consultant in the UK, Italy and Romania.